December 2016
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Kathleen M. Bailey, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Monterey, California, USA

The International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF) is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization started by the TESOL International Association in 1998. With its international focus, TIRF’s all-volunteer Board of Trustees has been working to promote research in our field, with part of the foundation’s mission dedicated to research on language teacher education.

TIRF’s vision is that in the 21st century, personal and social value accrues to individuals who are proficient in English and in one or more additional languages. Therefore, TIRF’s mission embodies four major goals:

  • to implement a research and development program that will generate new knowledge and inform and improve the quality of English language teaching and learning

  • to promote the application of research to practical language problems

  • to collect, organize, and disseminate information and research on the teaching and learning of language

  • to influence the formation and implementation of appropriate language education policies, recognizing the importance of indigenous languages and cultures worldwide, and of English as an international language

In terms of the research and development program referred to in the first bullet above, teacher education is one of TIRF’s priority research topics in its annual Doctoral Dissertation Grants Competition.

Since the Doctoral Dissertation Grants Competition began in 2002, the foundation has awarded 75 grants of up to US $5,000 to doctoral candidates from 20 countries (Cambodia, Canada, China, England, Iran, France, Japan, Korea, Nepal, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Sudan, Taiwan, Turkey, the United States, and Vietnam). Applicants do not have to be TESOL or AAAL members or citizens of a particular country in order to submit a proposal. The following dissertations on teacher education have been supported by TIRF:

· Takahiro Yokayama (2015): Impact of “TESOL Qualifications” Upon Native Speaker TESOL Teachers’ Job Satisfaction

· Emily Evans Fanaeian (2015): Preparing Pre-service Teachers for Working With Linguistically Diverse Students: Examining University Teacher Preparation Programs Across the United States

· Zoe Ksan Rubadeau (2014): An Exploration of English Language Teacher Educators’ Beliefs and Practices in Relation to 21st-Century Technologies

· Hiromi Takayama (2014): Professional Development in Japanese Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers’ Identity and Efficacy

· Sarah Braden (2014): Scientific Inquiry as Social and Linguistic Practice: Language Socialization Trajectories of English Learners in an 8th Grade Science Class

· Jaehan Park (2013): Korean university Professors’ Knowledge Base and Professional Development Needs for English-Medium Instruction

· Bedrettin Yazan (2013): How ESOL Teacher Candidates Construct Their Teacher Identities: A Case Study of an MATESOL Program

· Derya Kulavuz-Onal (2012): English Language Teachers’ Learning to Teach With Technology Through Participation in an Online Community of Practice: A Netnography of Webheads in Action

· Hyojung Lim (2012): Exploring the Validity of Evidence of the TOEFL IBT Reading Test From a Cognitive Perspective

· Patsy Vinogradov (2012): Little Desks, Big Ideas: The Unlikely Meeting of Adult Educators in Kindergarten to Explore Early Literacy Instruction

· Kristen Lindahl (2011): Exploring an Invisible Medium: Teacher Language Awareness Among Preservice K12 Educators of English Language Learners

· Ali Fuad Selvi (2011): A Quest to Prepare English Language Teachers in Diverse Teaching Settings

· Aymen Elsheikh (2010): A Case Study of Sudanese EFL Student Teachers’ Knowledge and Identity Construction

· Tomohisa Machida (2010): Teaching English for the First Time: Anxiety Among Japanese Elementary School Teachers

· Farahnaz Faez (2004): Preparing Diverse Teachers for Diverse Students: Perceptions of Linguistic Identity, Experiences, and Teaching Responsibilities in a Canadian Teacher Education Program

To see a map of the TIRF grantees’ hometowns, please click here.

TIRF’s website offers many resources for language teachers and teacher educators. For instance, there is a collection of reference lists on over 150 topics of current interest in our field. These lists are stored as free downloadable Word documents that anyone may use. Topics of particular interest to TEIS members include professional development, the practicum, reflective teaching, supervision and evaluation of teachers, team teaching, and language teacher education.

In partnership with Routledge (part of the Taylor & Francis Group), TIRF has published a series of edited books based primarily on research supported by the foundation. The third book in the series has just been released. It is titled Teacher Education and Professional Development in TESOL: Global Perspectives. This volume was co-edited by two TIRF trustees, MaryAnn Christison and Jodi Crandall. The editors’ overview chapter provides a state-of-the-art review of language teacher education and professional development.

The foundation also shares other types of resources on its website, including items related to publication opportunities, grants and awards in our field, and conference announcements, among others. TIRF has a history of commissioning research on diverse issues important in our field, such as English in the workforce, English and plurilingualism, and online language teacher education. These reports are also free to download and share by clicking here.

The TIRF Board members see effective teacher education as central to the purpose of the foundation, and many of the trustees are themselves teacher educators. If you have questions about the foundation, would like to volunteer as a proposal reviewer, or would like to receive TIRF Today, our monthly e-newsletter, please email


Christison, M. A., & Christian, D. (2016). Teacher education and professional development in TESOL: Global perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge.

Dr. Kathleen M. Bailey is a professor in the TESOL-TFL MA Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, in Monterey. She is a past president of TESOL as well as the current president of both AAAL and TIRF.

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